Phycology Schools and Degree Programs
Phycology is the study of algae; specialists in this field may study the benefits and hazards of algae in the planet's water systems or the potential dangers of the introduction of man-made algae in nature. Phycology in usually studied as a specialization within a botany or marine science program. Continue reading for more degree program information.
What You Need to Know
A subspecialty of botany, phycology is the study of algae. While in school, you'll participate in laboratory training, field studies and independent research.
|Courses||Plant systematics, plant ecology, genetics & evolution|
|Programs||Botany or marine science; this field is not offered as its own degree program|
|Training||Hands-on experience is important while completing a degree at any level|
What Kinds of Degree Programs Are Available in Phycology?
Courses in phycology exist in botany or marine science programs. These programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. You might be able to find schools that offer some online coursework within a blended or hybrid degree program, though phycology courses are usually not included in the online curriculum.
What Will I Study?
In an undergraduate phycology course, you'll study the evolutionary origins of algae and how algae affect marine ecosystems. Specialized topics cover seaweed diversity and diatoms. You might be able to explore some of the following topics in your program as well:
- Problems associated with algae and its environment
What About Graduate Coursework?
At the graduate level, your phycology courses focus primarily on research and analysis. Schools provide on-campus laboratory settings, though you'll also conduct studies in outdoor areas, typically near bodies of water. Some schools give you the chance to participate in programs through affiliated schools and organizations in other parts of the world, such as the Arctic, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Topics you'll discuss in your classes include:
- Biology of seaweeds and their communities
- Growth and reproduction of algae
- Life histories and seaweed assemblages
What Should I Look for in a School?
To make the most of your research, look for schools located near natural laboratories where you can get plenty of hands-on experience. Such settings might include wetlands or marine habitats. Also, you might consider the amount of research you can dedicate to the study of phycology or whether you can concentrate your electives and research in this area.
If you choose a botany program over marine science, be sure to choose a program that offers a concentration in marine botany so you can streamline your courses to focus primarily on marine plant life and phycology. Additionally, examine faculty-led research projects for potential schools to see if you might have the chance to assist with an existing phycology project or if a department may be open to launching a study in this field. The following schools offer phycology degree programs:
- Humboldt State University (Arcata)
- University of Hawai'i (Manoa)
- University of North Carolina (Wilmington)
- University of Washington (Seattle)
- University of Alaska Southeast (Juneau)